The following is an excerpt from my article appearing in the September 2017 issue of St. Anthony Messenger
In Matthew 16;13-20, when Jesus asks his disciples what people are saying about who he is, they give him several answers. then he looks at Peter and asks “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answers “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God,” a response that pleases Jesus.
Was that a pop quiz for which Peter, fortunately, gave the correct answer? That is one way to view it. But suppose I view it as an invitation. Suppose I consider that the question is directed not only to Peter but to me, not as a quiz but as an invitation to explore exactly who and what Jesus is in my life. That is the invitation extended to each of us.
In response to his invitation then I came up with a list of other names for Jesus that comprise my own answer to his question: prince of peace, rebel, teacher, storyteller, healer, criminal, and friend to sinners.
Jesus clearly is the prince of peace. Calling him this, howe ver, is not simply saying something warm and fuzzy. If I choose to call him this, then I am embracing all that he stands for regarding peace. Jesus clearly stood for non-violence. He challenges me several times to love my enemy, remembering that my enemy may indeed be a combatant in a foreign land, but may also be my annoying neighbor down the street. Further, as prince of peace, he challenges and invites me to be a peace-maker, to not simply keep my moth shut and stay out of trouble but to actively foster peace in all my daily dealings.
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When Jesus keeps my mouth shut, I call Him the “prince of miracles”. 🙂
I did not have my son baptized in the Catholic Church until he was 10 years old because I wanted it to be a meaningful choice. Due to my son’s age, the priest said my son had to attend adult Catechism classes in order to be baptized. Prior to attending the classes, my son and I had to meet with the priest. He gave my son a sort of “quiz” to assess his baseline knowledge. The priest asked my son, “Who was Jesus?” After a short silence, the priest tried to assist by asking, “Was he a person who helped people?”. My son replied, “HE IS THE SON OF GOD,” in a voice that implied, “Don’t you know ANYTHING?”. As my son has grown older, he has become more skeptical of the teachings of the Church which is probably why we are told that we need to be like children to enter heaven.